Pedro "absolutely" coming back, but is he worth the risk?

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Ken Rosenthal talked to Pedro Martinez’s agent who says that Pedro is “absolutely” coming back, that he feels “rejuvenated” and that this time he wants to pitch all season, not just be a mid-season rental.

This is great in the sense that Pedro Martinez is awesome and is great to have around baseball for all kinds of intangible and historical reasons.

This is not so great in the sense that Pedro’s best starts in the post season came on 16 and 12 days rest, and that he got beat up and looked to have absolutely nothing in the tank for Game Six of the World Series, which he pitched on five days rest.  Also, it’s worth noting that his two best starts of the regular season came against the punchless Mets and Giants, none of his nine regular season starts came against a playoff team, and seven of his nine starts came against teams that were at or below league average for offense in the NL.

None of which is to say that taking a chance on Martinez is a bad move.  But if you do take a chance, you’d be well-advised not to stake your season on a healthy and productive Pedro.

Report: Indians, Padres still talking about starting pitching trade

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.

The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.

Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.

Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.

The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.